It wakes you in the gray hours of the morning. You try to sleep through it; futilely you cling to a few more minutes of peace. Dragging your eyes open even a fraction sends you plummeting back down into your pillow. Its’ origin is unknown but its’ very presences reeks of misery and suffering to come. Ignoring it only seems to agitate it more. So you beckon your muscles out of their dormancy and lift your body from your bed. Slowly, carefully, you creep into the bathroom adjacent your room, every step sending shock waves off the walls of your skull. Your movement agitates it and you pray that this will only be a temporary phenomenon. Cradling your head in your hands, you wait for the running water from the sink to warm so its heat can provide some small solace- however temporary. It has now worked its way from around the base of your skull and into your cheekbones before it continues its destructive path, finally it grips your eye sockets with a vise-like hold. The water helps some and you think that you can make it… you can survive this.
Wincing at your reflection in the poorly-lit mirror you barely recognize your sallow-skinned and puffy-eyed likeness. Like some pitiable doppelganger, it has drained the color from your cheeks; your eyes are weighted down, unable to open to their full capacity. You wish for sleep but know it cannot grant you any reprieve from what has hold of you… and so you carry on. Hoping a remedy passed down from your mother will vanquish it, you close your eyes and feel your way into the main quarters of the house. Relying on textures and objects you skim with your fingertips, you search out the remedy until, in the darkness of pre-morning, you detect a small package that holds what you seek. Careful to avoid any sudden movements, for you have found that angers it, you ingest the remedy and say a silent prayer.
Hours pass with no relief. The remedy has failed. It has grown comfortable now, as it slowly seeps into your brain, clogging even the simplest of your thoughts with its sludge-like presence. Weakened and desperate, you begin to look for anything to dull the edge of it. Finding nothing, you eventually accept your fate- you accept that you have no control and you begin to wish for unspeakable things- things you know you would never do. Time marches on and you can feel its beat across the bridge of your nose and in your aching mandible.
Beginning to believe relief will never come; you make one last request out of sheer desperation. Your request is heard, and what’s more, is answered.
It liberates you in trickles, not all at once but like condensation evaporating in the afternoon sun. You feel your faculties return, slow but eager to please. You breathe deeply and become acutely aware that it is now almost indistinguishable. You may not be 100%, it will take a day of rest and times’ slow restorative hand for that, but you begin to remember things, how to smile, the ability to nod, the taste of a ripe cantaloupe. It is gone now, for how long you dare not think, but for now… you are safe.
The Not So Fantastic Reality:
The above story was inspired by the following tidbits I encountered today:
ONE: I suffer from headaches. Ever since I was a wee child I would be gripped by these monster headaches that never seemed to go away. I can honestly say that there are more days than not where I suffer from some varying level of ‘the headache’. I’ve come to deal with this less than appealing reality, and for the most part I am pretty functional despite this malady. However, there are those days, like today, that before I even wake up a whopper of a headache comes a knockin’ and makes my life miserable. I try to suffer through, hoping the pain will just be temporary. Today I knew that without some sort of medicinal intervention I would be in for a world of hurt. Recently, I’ve begun to wonder if my symptoms (the everlasting cold, headaches, fatigue) were a result of adult-onset allergies. So I popped some 12-hour allergy pill my mom/pusher gave me in hopes it would knock out this terrible headache. It didn’t. And guess who thought she had her bottle of Advil in her purse but who actually forgot it in her other purse? Yep, that would be me. So with nothing to alleviate my poor head, I started freaking out… it was getting worse. I literally wanted to die (ok, not really). Finally, I wandered to my boss’ office (the effort of even this simple task was daunting) and begged for anything he might have in the form of painkillers. Thank God he had something, so after swallowing two Aleve I began to return to my usual, if not somewhat exhausted, self.
TWO: Not having much of an appetite (mind-numbing pain will do that to ya) I managed to finally force down some cantaloupe for lunch today as the Aleve started to work its magic. I think it was delicious but honestly my brain cells were more concerned with throwing a teeny celebration in my head as the last of my headache dissolved (I imagine a bunch of little brain cells dancing around and singing al a munchkin style, Ding dong the witch is dead. Which old Witch? The Wicked Witch. Ding Dong the Wicked Witch is dead! Wake up- sleepy head, rub your eyes, get out of bed, wake up the Wicked Witch is dead…).
…she’s gone where the goblins go, Below- below- below. Yo-ho…
(Sorry, but I have the song stuck in my head…)
Love & Squirrels.